The Following are Current ASCD Positions:The Whole Child (sign the Whole Child Pledge today!)The current direction in educational practice and policy focuses overwhelmingly on academic achievement. However, academic achievement is but one element of student learning and development and only a part of any complete system of educational accountability.
ASCD believes a comprehensive approach to learning recognizes that successful young people are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, motivated, civic minded, engaged in the arts, prepared for work and economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond their own borders.Together, these elements support the development of a child who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged. To develop a whole child requires the following contributions:Communities provide
•A safe environment in which students can lean.•Family support and involvement.
•Government, civic, and business support and resources.
•Volunteers and advocates.
•Support for their districts' coordinated school health councils or other collaborative structures.
•Access to challenging and engaging curriculum for all students.
•High quality professional development with collaborative planning time embedded within the school day.
•A safe, healthy, orderly, and trusting environment.•High-quality teachers and administrators.
•A climate that supports strong relationships between adults and students.
•Support for coordinated school health councils or other collaborative structures that are active in the school.
•Evidence-based assessment and instructional practices.
•Rich content and an engaging learning climate.
•Student and family connectedness.
•Effective classroom management.
•Modeling of healthy behaviors.Closing the Achievement GapFor all students to excel academically and thrive as individuals, we must raise the bar and provide them with access to high-quality learning, curriculum, and instruction. Educators, policymakers, and the public must understand the consequences of persistent gaps in student achievement and they must demand that addressing these gaps becomes a policy and funding priority. ASCD believes that to close the achievement gap, all underserved populations—high-poverty students, students with special learning needs, students of different cultural backgrounds, nonnative speakers, and urban and rural students—must have access to:
• Innovative, engaging, and challenging coursework (with academic support) that builds on the strengths of each learner and enables students to develop to their full potential;
• High-quality teachers supported by ongoing professional development; and
• Additional resources for strengthening schools, families, and communities.Multiple Measures of AssessmentDecision makers in education—students, parents, educators, community members, and policymakers—all need timely access to information from many sources if they are to make informed judgments about student learning and the success of education programs.Using a single achievement test as the sole measure of learning is inappropriate. Determining success of students, schools, districts, states/provinces, or nations should be based on multiple assessments of and for learning. ASCD supports the use of multiple measures in assessment systems that are:
•Fair, balanced, and grounded in the art and science of learning and teaching;
•Reflective of curricular and developmental goals and representative of content that students have had an opportunity to learn;
•Used to inform and improve instruction;
•Designed to accommodate nonnative speakers and special needs students; and
•Valid, reliable, and supported by professional, scientific, and ethical standards designed to fairly assess the unique and diverse abilities and knowledge base of all students.Educating Students in a Changing WorldAs educators in the 21st century, we are charged with educating students to be successful in a complex, interconnected world. This responsibility requires schools to prepare students for technological, cultural, economic, informational, and demographic changes.ASCD supports changes in teaching, learning, and leadership that adequately prepare students for the 21st century and graduate students who:
•Acquire and apply core knowledge and critical-thinking skill sets that are essential in an information age;
•Demonstrate creativity, innovation, and flexibility when partnering with business and community members to advance common goals;
•Make decisions and solve problems ethically and collaboratively;
•Use technology to gather, analyze, and synthesize information for application in a global economy;
•Exhibit positive interpersonal relationships that value multiple languages, cultures, and all persons;
•Display leadership skills that inspire others to achieve, serve, and work together.